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French pension reforms: PM Philippe willing to scrap controversial part of government plans

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By Lauren Chadwick
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe   -   Copyright  Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved   -   Francois Mori

The French government has offered to temporarily scrap a controversial part of its pension reform plans after weeks of strikes and protests, Euronews has learned.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wrote to social partners and French unions and said he was willing to temporarily cut their proposal to transition to a retirement age of 64 from 2022.

In the letter, seen by Euronews, Philippe said he was "ready to withdraw" the measure from the bill but hoped that they could come to an agreement by the bill's second reading.

The announcement came as protesters took to the streets once again to protest the proposed pension reforms.

The transport strike over the pension reforms is now in its sixth week, making it one of the longest in French history. 

Philippe's announcement is likely to appease some workers.

One of France's largest unions, the CFDT, said in a statement following the announcement that the move showed "the government's will to compromise".

But other unions such as the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) has said it is against the proposed "universal retirement system" that would cut the country's 42 special retirement regimes.

The CGT has said they want to protect France's current system, estimating that switching to the proposed "points-based system" would reduce pensions.